Just two months after its last funding announcement, Indonesian crypto assets platform Pintu has closed a $35 million Series A+. The new round was led by Lightspeed Ventures, with participation from returning investors like Alameda Ventures, Blockchain.com Ventures, Castle Island Ventures, Coinbase Ventures, Intudo Ventures and Pantera Capital.
Pintu’s previous funding, a $6 million Series A led by Pantera, Intudo and Coinbase Ventures, was announced in late May. Pintu is the latest investment app in Southeast Asia to quickly raise a much larger follow-on round as interest in retail investing grows. Other examples include Bibit, Ajaib and Syfe.
Andrew Adjiputro, Pintu’s chief operating officer, told TechCrunch that Pintu raised a Series A+, instead of a Series A extension or Series B, because its focus on product development and execution is still the same. “With the Coinbase IPO and a lot of new users onboarding, we think it’s the right time for us to raise a larger round to finance faster growth,” he said. “It’s good momentum for us to launch new products and grab the market.”
Pintu plans to use its Series A+ on “aggressive” hiring for all its teams and rolling out new features and products. During the first half of 2021, Pintu says app downloads grew by 3.5x through organic growth, while active traders on the platform increased by 4x.
The platform currently offers trades on 16 cryptocurrencies, with plans to add more coins, including NFT tokens.
Adjiputro said Coinbase’s successful initial public offering in April helped fuel interest in crypto trading, especially among first-time investors.
“They became curious and the bread and butter of our business is essentially education,” said Adjiputro. “We have a lot of education on our platform and it attracts this new breed of investors who want to learn more.”
While the rate of retail investment in Indonesia is still low, it’s growing quickly because of a confluence of factors, including people’s desire to diversify and increase their assets during the pandemic.
For many of Pintu’s users, the app was their first introduction to investing instead of stocks, Adjiputro said. The company recently surveyed current users, asking about the top five asset classes they invest in. Crypto came in third after mutual funds and digital gold, and before stocks at number four.
The preference for crypto over stocks is echoed in figures released by the Indonesian Ministry of Trade, which showed that as of June 2021, there were over 6.5 million crypto investors in Indonesia, or about triple the 2.2 million public equity investors in the country.
Pintu is a licensed crypto broker under the Indonesian Commodity Futures Trading Regulatory Agency (BAPPEBTI). It has a low minimum investment rate of 11,000 IDR, or about 75 cents USD, making it more attractive to new investors.
Timothius Martin, the company’s chief marketing officer, was a first-time investor when he started using Pintu. He told TechCrunch that the number one draw was accessibility. “It’s easy to start investing and also withdraw assets. In Indonesia, we are now at a stage where people have heard about crypto, about Bitcoin, are very interested and may already want to invest, but there are not many options that are easy enough for them to understand.”
Instead of encouraging users to make an investment when they open the app for the first time, Pintu presents them with educational materials. For example, one of its features is Pintu Academy, a collection of articles and videos. While Pintu’s target demographic is millennials, it’s also attracting older demographics, including people who have traded other assets, like stocks, but want to learn more about the fundamentals of crypto trading.
Adjiputro said Pintu’s focus on education is what differentiates it from other Indonesian crypto platforms like Indodax and Tokocrypto.
The company is getting ready to launch new features, like Pintu Earn, a crypto asset account that lets users earn interest on a variety of crypto assets, and e-wallet integration for easier deposits and withdrawals.
It’s also deciding what coins to add next. “We’re very selective in terms of the coins we introduce, because this is a platform for first-time investors and beginners, so we want to protect them, not only in terms of our UI, but also the selection of coins we have,” Martin said.
Pintu’s criteria for new coins include ones that have a high market cap, meaning adoption is already relatively mainstream. It also looks at how long a coin has been around and its liquidity.
Pintu plans to focus on expanding in Indonesia before entering other Southeast Asian markets.
In a statement, Lightspeed partner Hemant Mohapatra said, “Lightspeed has invested in over 17 crypto and blockchain companies globally including FTX, Blockchain.com, Offchain Labs and more. We believe crypto is at an inflection point to become an important asset class globally and will give rise to massive companies that will become regional leaders. Pintu has created the strongest market brand, best user experience and hands down one of the strongest teams we’ve ever come across in this market.”